Universal Control: Need to upgrade your workload? Apple’s latest continuous feature allows you to use your Mac mouse, trackpad, and keyboard on the nearby iPad.
Windows PC owners have ways to control multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse, but what about Mac users? The All Control feature allows those using macOS or iPadOS to share the same cursor, mouse, trackpad, and keyboard between Mac and iPad. And if you have more than one Mac or iPad, you can share these controls in between.
Apple is currently labeling Universal Control as a beta feature, but it seems stable enough to use it without any problems. For those who keep track at home, this feature is different from Sidecar, which allows you to use the iPad as a second monitor. Only General Control allows you to use multiple devices independently while using the same input methods.
Universal Control Compatibility
For all of this to work, your devices must meet certain requirements. Your iPad must have iPadOS 15.4 or later, while your Mac must have macOS Monterey 12.3 or later. Your device should also be one of the following:
The MacBook Pro was launched in 2016 or later
The MacBook Air was launched in 2018 or later
The Mac mini was launched in 2018 or later
The iMac was launched in 2017 or later, as well as the iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
The iMac Pro was launched in 2017
Mac Pro was launched in 2019 or later
IPad Pro (all models)
secondly iPad (6th generation) or later
third IPad Air (third generation) or later
fourth IPad mini (5th generation) or later
You must sign in to each device with the same Apple ID using two-factor authentication. Each device must be within 30 feet of each other with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff all turned on. Lastly, your Mac or iPad-enabled mobile phone cannot share its Internet connection for this to work. Now, let’s see how this all works out.
Update your Mac and iPad
First, make sure your iPad is running iPadOS 15.4 or higher. Go to Settings> General> Software Update. You will be notified that the OS is up to date or you will be prompted to download and install the latest update. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the update.
Next, check out your Mac. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner and select About This Mac. Click the Software Update button. You will be notified that your Mac is up to date or asked to update it. Click the Update Now button to install any pending updates.
Enable universal control
On your Mac, go to System Preferences> Templates and click the Control All button. On the next screen, check Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad.
You can set Universal Control to switch your mouse cursor from one device to another by moving it to the right or left of the screen, depending on the location of each device. If you wish to enable this option, select the Push box at the edge of the display to connect a nearby Mac or iPad.
If you want your Mac and iPad to connect automatically this way every time they restart, check out the Auto Reconnect option on any nearby Mac or iPad. When you are ready, click Done.
How to Use Universal Control
You are now ready to take Universal Control to get a test drive. Park your Mac and iPad next to each other. The feature works based on the common areas of your devices. Suppose your iPad is located on the right side of your Mac. If you think you have checked the Push edge option to connect a nearby Mac or iPad, move your mouse or trackpad cursor to the right of the screen.
After that you should see a round cursor from your iPad. Now you can use your mouse or trackpad and keyboard on iPad. Using your Mac controls, you can open the app on your iPad and use your Mac keyboard to type the app.
You can get back to your Mac by moving the round cursor to the left of the screen. You should see it from your Mac too.
Activate the Universal controller
Click your iPad entry under the Link keyboard and mouse to, to display the blue icon. You can then move your cursor to the right edge of the screen until it appears on your iPad. To disconnect from your iPad, go back to the same Control Center window and click on the contents of your iPad.
One way to do this is to use System Preferences> Templates. Click Insert drop-down menu and select your iPad entries; a check mark will appear. To close it, use the same process and click on iPad entries again to uncheck.
Add More Devices
You can add additional devices to the mix to manage them all from one central Mac, or only two other devices can connect at once. To add another Mac, go to System Preferences> Templates on that Mac and click Complete Control. Be sure to check Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad; other choices are voluntary.
Adding another iPad does not require special activation as long as it uses iPadOS 15.4 or higher, although you may need to wait a few minutes for the Mac to detect it. From your main Mac, open the Control Center and select Show to see all nearby compatible devices. Click on more than one entry and make the icons blue to indicate the connection.
You can also do this in System Preferences> Templates and click the Add Template drop-down menu. Select the device you wish to add to the list.
If you try to exceed the limit of connected devices, you will receive a message telling you that your Mac cannot connect. It then tells you to disconnect another device first, which you can do from the display menu. You can then move your cursor to the right edge of your main Mac to connect to a second device. Then move the cursor to that device at the edge of the screen to go to the third device.